Part of the academic experience is thesis writing. Every post-secondary student is familiar with the process of sitting down at a computer and writing for several hours in order to produce a thesis paper. Every student writes a number of theses over their university career— there is no escape from the endless pages of pt. 12 font.
At some point, you will have to write a thesis that is very, very long. Pages. Pages and pages. It’ll be miserable, and you will wish you had better prepared, no matter how well prepared you are.
Fear not, traveler, as you do not have to be caught unawares.
- Start early. Procrastination will rarely serve you. Even if you’re the kind of person who writes theses best under pressure, you’ll nevertheless benefit from looking at your assignment early. Get some of the grunt work (research, organization, outline) out of the way early so that you can focus on the actual writing.
- Create continuity. When you get ready to write that really, really long paper, look back over the other papers that you have written. Don’t be afraid to copy and paste: your greatest resource is your former works. If you create a continuity across all your assignments (picking a consistent thesis style, using similar topics and resources, documenting the evolution of thesis styles). This way, a considerable amount of your writing time consists of reading over the things you have already composed and choosing the best ideas from there.
- Get feedback. When writing theses, it’s always helpful to have someone you consider knowledgeable give you good feedback on your writing. Having a friend or colleague read over your work gives you the opportunity to better your writing and create a more complete argument regarding your work.
- Draw from a variety of sources. It might be tempting to look at sources that you are immediately familiar with. You will want to use ideas and perspectives that you have brushed against more than once, because you want to be completely confident in your argument. While it’s always good to know what you’re talking about and be familiar with the texts, it is important to approach your projects with a wide range of possibilities and cultural interpretations from which to draw. Do not limit yourself to sources from one culture, political climate, or region.
- Follow the threads you find interesting. If you have a lot of options regarding your theses, follow the threads that you find interesting and exciting. Just because you are obligated to write a thesis on a specific topic doesn’t mean you have to relegate it to boring, uninspiring piece of writing.
Theses, and their connections to each other, are an integral part of the academic path. If you have chosen this route and dedicated your life (or a few years of your life) to education, you will inevitably end up writing a lot of them. Following the helpful steps above, you too can write a complete and compelling thesis.